Monday, July 29, 2019

Slip Variety into Sleepy Shopper Selling

Sleepy shoppers favor variety and novelty. Researchers at University of British Columbia, University of Hong Kong, and Tsinghua University say this finding is counterintuitive. You’d expect sleepyheads to want to simplify decision tasks so they could start napping. The narrower the portfolio to filter, the better, so you’d think. But it turns out that, instead, because consumers often consider their shopping to be necessary, they hanker for enough variety to stimulate themselves into wakefulness. Along with this, people make riskier decisions when they’re sleepy, and having more alternatives available increases the feeling of risk.
     Knowing that sleepiness increases the attractiveness of variety is useful to marketers like you. A significant proportion of your target markets are sleep deprived. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep. The problem is worse in minority communities, among unmarried adults with limited education, and at times of high unemployment. It’s also situational. On the day or two after changing from standard time to daylight savings or the other way around, people feel sleepier. The researchers documented more variety seeking in purchases of candy and beer following a shift to DST. In addition, many people get tired after work at their job or simply because it’s evening.
     Any of these factors should alert you to the possible advantages of alerting sleepy-looking shoppers, such as by increasing the variety of alternatives you present and including novel choices. This could influence how you advertise, display products, and progress through face-to-face selling. The researchers hypothesize that bars and restaurants will increase revenues if they offer different happy-hour specials on different days rather than the same items each day.
     Variety seeking is not always in your best interest. If you want to introduce the customer to a new brand, their attraction to switching is fine. However, when the brand the customer has been buying delivers good value for them and high profits for you, you’d prefer to delay brand switching.
     Research findings from Carnegie Mellon University, University of Minnesota, and New York University suggest we slow down switching by encouraging thoughts of other alternatives already tried. If the shopper talks about purchasing a different brand “to break out of my routine,” ask, “What are some other brands you’ve used in the past, and what convinced you to start using our brand you’re using now?”

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Look Lively!
Monitor Variety Seeking
Temper Shoppers’ Pressing Need to Buy
Tune Up by Varying the Store Music

Monday, July 22, 2019

Best Effects from Kids’ Pester Power

The children pester, and the parents resist. When shopping together, the kids push for items they want, and the adult decision makers push back if the purchases seem unwise. Based on video-recorded observation of 89 family shopping trips in a grocery store, researchers at University of South Australia conclude that the parents are, on balance, besting their children’s nagging. Although 80% of the children made a purchase request, only 20% of those requests led to a purchase. The percentage of parent grants was highest for salty snacks and dairy products. It was lowest for toys and cereals.
     I consider the study to be an important contribution, but the findings as indicating only a rough estimate of the extent of pester power in the broad consumer marketplace The observations were restricted to grocery stores. A range of studies indicate that children’s pester power is more frequent and more effective when the items being considered for purchase will be used at least in part by the children. The power of pester decreases as the potential cost of the purchase in money and time increases.
     Moreover, each participant wore a recording device. Participants were not told the real purpose of the observation until after the shopping trip. Still, knowing your behavior would be analyzed easily distorts behavior. I’ll note that the researchers reply this was not a concern, giving as evidence how one of the recordings included muttered obscenities by a shopper as she passed other people in the store.
     Even if pestering isn’t frequent, it makes the shopping trip unpleasant for the parents as well as for the store staff who witness it. Some retailers have chosen to reduce the problem by purging the cues. In 2007, Loblaw Companies Limited, as Canada's largest grocery retailer, began removing candy bars, gum, and other sweet treats from checkout counters. Loblaw got congratulations not only for cleaning up the overstuffed cash/wrap area, but also for enabling parents to guide their children and themselves through candy-free alleys, making it less likely the whole family would end up overstuffed.
     Persuasion agents of another sort have put children’s pester power to praiseworthy use. Researchers at University College Cork documented the effectiveness of schools coaching their students to nag parents to practice environmentally responsible behaviors. The success factors included the children engaging in those behaviors themselves and in pressuring the parents promptly after twasteful actions are spotted.

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Stop the Nagging Among Shoppers
Hide Your Face If Your Foot’s in the Door
Employ Purchase Triggers for Children

Monday, July 15, 2019

Persuade Seniors with Old Ad Models

For maximum persuasive effect of an ad, the type of product or service being advertised should influence how old the models appear to be. Another consideration is how old the intended audiences for the ad feel themselves to be.
     Researchers at Université Paris and Brest Business School explored what factors are important when choosing to use models who appear to be elderly adults. Here are my tips, based on their findings plus evidence from other studies:
  • Show seniors as having benefited from the wisdom gained through a long life. They could be advising other characters who are included in the ad, or they could be making recommendations directly to the viewers of the ad. 
  • Avoid the ad being somber unless it deals with an unequivocally serious topic, such as funeral arrangements. Even ads regarding significant health problems will benefit from the senior model being presented with a humorous or sentimental touch. 
  • Keep the clothing and the behavior of the senior model roughly appropriate to the model’s apparent age. Elderly viewers and readers might wish they were somewhat younger, and almost every elderly adult says they feel younger than their calendar age. For these reasons, presenting the senior model in clothing associated with a slightly younger age than they otherwise appear and as engaging in behavior associated with a somewhat younger age can earn positive attention. But a large discrepancy corrodes the overall credibility of the ad, so fails to do an adequate job of selling. 
  • Senior citizen viewers favor ads, and consequently what’s being featured in the ads, when the ads show the senior as part of a family group. It’s also persuasive to center the ad around an important happy event, such as a birthday, a graduation, or a vacation. This works because the positive associations spread to the item being advertised. However, this doesn’t operate nearly as well when a series of ads all indicate the senior’s identity is limited to family member. Change it up by also showing the protagonist as a skilled volunteer for a charity or a traveler on an educational journey, for instance. Similarly, in at least some ads, show the senior actually consuming the entity being advertised. Elderly adults like to be reminded of the variety of roles they still feel capable of playing. Included in that is the role of consumer. After all, people of every age are, by nature, consumers. 
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Race for Recognition
Smoke Out Which Models Motivate Teens
Airbrush Away Shame in Your Shoppers

Monday, July 8, 2019

Remind Seniors How You Informed Them

With advancing age come increasing tendencies for consumers to forget where they learned helpful information as well as to forget how helpful the information was. To maintain in the minds of seniors your continuing value as a persuasion agent, correct for the fleeting of these memories. On follow-up contacts, ask your elderly clients the reasons why they made the decisions they did. Listen for answers claiming, “Oh, I knew that already,” when the accurate answers would indicate, “You told me something I didn’t already know.” In the same way, spot answers claiming, “I knew that was going to happen,” when the accurate answer would indicate, “You got it right when you predicted the consequences.”
     Researchers at Trinity College, College of Charleston, and University of Toronto, all in Canada, confirmed findings about forgetting the source when it comes to factual information. For instance, one statement in the study was, “About four hours are required to boil an ostrich egg.” Older adults could remember the fact as well as younger adults but were inferior in recalling which of two individuals—either a man or a woman in the study—had read the statement to them. This was true even though the recall test was administered less than half an hour after the reading of the statements and the researchers conducted the study during what was thought best for memory skills in each age group. Participants aged 19 to 25 years old were assessed during a 12:00 to 5:00 PM block. For the participants aged 61 to 75 years old, an 8:00 to 11:00 AM block was used.
     This source forgetting effect has importance beyond selling in the store or office. It applies to media persuasion as well. Who told it to us? Did we read it in a political flier or in an editorial from a newspaper we trust? Maybe it was on TV, but did it come in the TV program itself or in one of the flashy commercials?
     Researchers at University of Düsseldorf and Max Planck Institute for Human Development documented that hindsight bias is greater in older than in younger consumers. Hindsight bias occurs when consumers overestimate the extent to which they believe, after having had an experience, that they’d been able to predict the experience. Hindsight bias leads seniors to devalue the advice they’d been given since the seniors believe they could have figured it out themselves.

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Ask Shoppers Why They Like or Dislike Items
Ping Consumers with Cause-and-Effect
Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me
Beware Flawed Predictions from Animations

Monday, July 1, 2019

Muse Seeming Museum-Like in Your Store

I’ll guess that “museological” is not a word you promptly recognize as a technique for displaying retail items. But a set of researchers at University of Leeds, Cardiff University, University of Southampton, and Aston University suggest you muse at least briefly about being museological. The word refers to presenting offerings in ways that artifacts and fine art are presented to visitors at traditional museums and art galleries.
  • Instead of using hangers, rails, or traditional shelving, place samples on tables or pedestals or in glass cabinets. 
  • Frame items with reflective and translucent materials, metal detailing, or hardwood. Select either the contemporary look of modern art or the antique look of the great masters. 
  • Space out items so each can be viewed from a range of angles. Also maintain a distance between the displayed item and the shoppers to discourage or prevent touching. (However, plenty of other research indicates that once we arouse interest in buying, we'll close the sale by encouraging the shopper to feel the specific merchandise they're considering purchasing.) 
  • Organize the items by theme and use signage to describe that theme. 
  • Illuminate each item with accent lighting, but limit the intensity of the lighting. Sophisticated consumers associate low intensity spotlighting with how paintings are protected in art galleries. 
     In a set of studies, these museological display techniques increased purchase intentions among shoppers for luxury products. The researchers’ explanation for the museological effect is that such techniques convey on the displayed items impressions of craftsmanship, aesthetic value, conscientiousness, and dramatic appeal.
     The researchers found no evidence that surrounding the items with actual artwork or museum-quality artifacts was necessary for the museological advantage. However, researchers from California State University-Stanislaus studied the effects on visitors of themed artifacts, such as you might use in a store. Those effects fell into three categories:
  • Physically drawing the consumer in. Objects which are visually interesting or cry out to be contemplated guide the consumer’s path of inquiry. 
  • Conceptually drawing the consumer in. Entering the area, the visitor has preconceptions about what will be experienced. Then when the visitor encounters each of the objects, those preconceptions stimulate the visitor to create stories which add interest, making it more likely the visitor will stay for a while, tell others about the place, and choose to return in the future. 
  • Substantiating. The right artifacts give substance to the moods the visitor is experiencing, meaning that impressions of the site are trusted more. In this process, the consumer is likely to incorporate what they’re feeling and what they believe others around them at the time are experiencing. 
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Are the Artifacts Selling the Mood?
Anticipate Aesthetics Avoidance